Ticketmaster Summer in Stages

Aruba

Rob Evans
People Can Run
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
(2006)

Production photo

Ad exec Mark (Ben Lewis) looks for the best way to sell a shoe (the tactic he and his team decide on is probably one of the best ad campaigns ever dreamed up) the morning after someone falling off a building has spattered onto his own footwear. The trauma of this leads him to have a breakdown in the middle of a big presentation, and finally he drifts off to an island paradise.

A similar fate awaits Darren (Kieran Fay), a past-his-prime personal trainer from down under, when his desire for an ex-girlfriend drives him to push his clients and himself a little too far. Finally, Nikki Parsley (her name perhaps meant to convey the blandness of her presence, though Sophie Fletcher's portrayal of her is slightly too sweet for this to be buy-able) plans her own, reality-based tropical vacation.

The best thing about Aruba is its humour, which comes to the fore in the first two stories but isn't as present in Nikki's tale. As we've already seen that Fletcher be crackingly funny in both the previous sections of the play, this is definitely down to the script/devised piece rather than any shortcoming on the part of the performer.

Probably due in part to its originating at the Fringe, Aruba uses a stark design based on lighting (Elena Pena), music (Dave Carey) and the bright, 60s-esque costumes of Suncana Dulic. This, and the performers' skill and creativity in miming locations and props, is a refreshing change. As the Scottish weather starts to change and the first warm breezes of summer blow in, Aruba offers a taster of what Edinburgh audiences can expect come August.

.

Reviewer: Rachel Lynn Brody